Pacific Union College Announces End of Bob Cushman’s Presidency

Editor’s Note: This press release was originally published on the Pacific Union College website and is included below in full:

It was recently announced that Pacific Union College President Bob Cushman will be leaving PUC at the end of this school year. On behalf of the entire PUC community, we want to thank President Dr. Cushman for his tireless efforts on behalf of our beloved PUC, our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and greater SDA constituency. We are grateful for Bob's years of service and dedication to Adventist education, even beyond those years at PUC.

"Bob has always approached his various roles in education with a servant heart and he brought that same spirit to his role at PUC and for that we will always be grateful," said Dr. Bradford Newton, Pacific Union Conference Executive Secretary and Chair of the PUC Board of Trustees. "As we look toward PUC's future, our board continues to be confident that PUC has a bright future ahead of us as we seek to prepare students for their life's calling and career path ahead. We believe that we have a strong administrative leadership team at PUC and are certain they will continue to drive a positive future for the campus, bringing us enrollment and programmatic growth, strong financial stewardship and new and exciting opportunities."

While there may be challenges facing higher education in today's environment, PUC was one of the only SDA colleges/universities to see enrollment growth going into the fall quarter, even amidst the COVID-19 environment. PUC's leadership team is currently working on a revitalized vision for PUC focused on aligning our college to better serve tomorrow's students on the Angwin campus and beyond.

"PUC has begun to turn toward a positive direction," Newton continued. "We look toward rebuilding, reimagining, and growing our college program for the future."

The college will continue to build on its strong tradition of educating students and placing them on a path for a lifetime of success. There are many opportunities for growth and expansion ahead for PUC, working with strong partners and standing on the shoulders of those wonderful leaders and alumni who have brought us this far in the college's history.

Together, we will remain dedicated to preparing students for careers of success and service, and we look forward to continuing to build the next generation of Adventist leaders.

Along with all of those who have been a part of the college's strong past, we thank President Cushman for his faithful service to our college community.

A Letter from President Bob Cushman:


Image courtesy of PUC.


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Oh well… PUC on the search again - hope they can find someone with staying power. Not sure what happened this time, but I see that Dr. Cushman’s letter noted that he was “disappointed” after talks with the Board failed to find agreement. That said, other articles in Spectrum reported Dept of Education leaders who feel the need to re-vamp our higher education system, with less regional partisanship; totally agree. All of our colleges can’t survive in their current modes of action. We need consolidation, less duplication of degree programs; we need to take a hard look at college locations and aging infrastructure and make some U turns. It’s lovely looking back at my experience at “Our College On The Mountain”, but this alum is willing to support progressive options.


Dr. Cushman was “encouraged” to leave by the PUC Board according to friends of mine who teach there. The board expected Dr. Cushman to work financial miracles in a relatively short period of time during a pandemic. I fear that this could begin a revolving door of short-term PUC presidents until the institution folds.

Dr. Malcolm Maxwell became president of PUC in a time of declining enrollment and crisis. Fortunately he was able to create a degree of stability and hope. Dr. Richard Osborn followed and made creative efforts to solve PUC’s financial problems. But those efforts were opposed and he ultimately left. Dr. Heather Knight was next. The Board ultimately asked her to resign and she left much new debt because of unrealistic spending. Now Dr. Cushman is being shown the door because he couldn’t work a miracle. There is an alarming pattern here.

I’d like to see the Board take much more ownership for these financial woes. PUC cannot succeed without a newly articulated financial commitment from the Pacific Union. If our colleges are going to survive they must be seen as a pillar of our work and church finances need to be redirected to support the colleges and universities, along with a new paradigm / vision that creates a collaborative system of SDA higher education rather than independent union schools.

No amount of money spent on evangelism will keep the church strong if Adventist young people are unable to have Adventist higher education. And no new PUC president can succeed without a new paradigm of financial support from the Union.


The higher the praise, the more suspicious I am about the real reasons… And that appears to be a pattern as well. The “disappointment” in Cushman’s letter speaks volumes.

I wish we could learn to be honest and transparent without hurting each other, facing facts as well as differences that might be there.


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